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Prejudice and Wages: An Empirical Assessment of Becker’s The Economics of Discrimination

Kerwin Kofi Charles and Jonathan Guryan
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 116, No. 5 (October 2008), pp. 773-809
DOI: 10.1086/593073
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/593073
Page Count: 37
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Prejudice and Wages: An Empirical Assessment of Becker’s The Economics of Discrimination
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Abstract

We test the predictions from Becker’s (1957) seminal work on employer prejudice and find that relative black wages (a) vary negatively with the prejudice of the “marginal” white in a state, (b) vary negatively with the prejudice in the lower tail of the prejudice distribution but are unaffected by the prejudice of the most prejudiced persons in a state, and (c) vary negatively with the fraction of a state that is black. Our estimates suggest that one‐quarter of the racial wage gap is due to prejudice, with nontrivial consequences for black lifetime earnings.

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